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Soc Sci Med. 1990;31(12):1301-11.

The structure of a factory closure: individual responses to job-loss and unemployment in a 10-year controlled follow-up study.

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Department of Community Medicine and General Practice, University of Trondheim, Norway.


A prospective study has been conducted of 85 employees (72 women and 13 men) made redundant when a brisling sardine factory on the west coast of Norway was shut down in 1975. 87 employees (66 women and 21 men) in a 'sister factory' which was not shut down, were used as controls. Previous analyses have shown a substantial reduction in future employment of the study group, a two-fold increase in time consumed on sick leave during the first follow-up year, and a more than three-fold increase in the life-table based rates of disability pensions (invalidity) during the first four follow-up years compared to the controls. In this paper the follow-up data regarding six mutually exclusive and inclusive conditions related to employment and health have been analysed on a weeks per person per year basis, permitting the effects of job-loss over 10 years to be compared with what could have been expected had the factory not been closed. For those not subjected to old age pension or death, three kinds of long-term adaptation showed a marked differential effect among study subjects and controls: a substantial long-term reduction in mean time spent in job, an increase in consumption of time on disability pension, and an increase in time spent outside the labour force without social security coverage, the latter being mostly confined to women. These follow-up data provide a comprehensive picture of individual long-term adaptation to involuntary job-loss, emphasizing its effects on future employment, health, social readjustment and social security benefit consumption.

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